tv Melissa Harris- Perry MSNBC June 15, 2014 7:00am-9:01am PDT
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good morning. i'm melissa harris-perry. i want you to think back to your most special teacher, the one who made an indelible impact on your life. maybe it was in elementary school, the teacher who taught you to love reading, or in high school, the teacher who encouraged you to apply for college. a teacher who not only imparted wisdom and encouraged your love of learning, but who made you feel valuable as a person, who taught you to dream bigger and helped you take the steps to get there. for me, that teacher was mrs. erickson. she introduced me to bilbo baggins and the belief i have something important to share. the value of a great teacher is indisputable but there is substantial disagreement about how we get great teachers in front of the students who need them most. how do we attract the best teachers to the profession and equally important, how do we keep them in the classroom? some of the biggest names in u.s. politics have made their position clear.
>> when it came to our schools, we eliminated teacher tenure to improve education for our children. >> to get tenure in louisiana out you have to be ranked in the top 10% for five years. >> we now have teacher tenure reform in new jersey for the first time in 105 years. >> when i first stood before you in 2011, i said the single most important factor in student learning is the quality of teaching. since that time, we eliminated teacher tenure. >> hm. this week, tenure took center stage in a big way, when california judge rolf traio released his decision in a case, a decision declaring five california statutes that protect job stability for teachers unconstitutional. those statutes included a permanent employment statute, dismissal statutes setting the procedure administrators must follow to dismiss a teacher, and the last in, first out statute
which bases layoffs on seniority. the lawsuit was brought on behalf of nine california students who claimed those rules deprived students of decent teachers especially in low income communities of color. the judge sided with the plaintiffs, ruling that those statutes impose quote, a real and apprecable impact to students' rights and quality of education. the decision draws a comparison between a junior and efficient teacher and a senior incompetent teacher, saying the statutes force schools to keep the senior teachers in place and let go or not hire at all the junior efficient teacher. but it's somewhat of a reductive comparison. it assumes there are scores of junior efficient teachers available in schools, especially low income schools, in communities of color. it assumes those teachers will remain in those schools instead of gaining experience and moving on to better resourced schools that offer better pay and fewer
challenges. but that presumption is not necessari necessarily played out. jesse rothstein wrote in the "new york times" this week the lack of effective teachers in impoverished schools contributes to that gap but tenure isn't the cause. teaching in those schools is a hard job and many teachers prefer slightly easier jobs in less troubled settings. that leads to high turnover and difficulty in filling positions. left with a dwindling pool of teachers, principals are unlikely to dismiss them whether they have tenure or not. but you don't have to take his word for it. last november, the department of education released the results of a study in which they offered bonuses for the highest performing teachers to move into schools serving disadvantaged students. teachers ranking in the top 20% in their subject and grade were offered $20,000 to transfer into and stay at schools with low test scores. but of the more than 1500
teachers identified, only 22% applied for the program. to be clear, tenure for teachers in k through 12 is not a guarantee of perpetual employment. education expert dana goldstein joined my colleague chris hayes on "all in" thursday and explained this. >> what is tenure? >> great first question. it's a promise of due process so once a teacher earns tenure rights, if a principal or school wants to get rid of them, want to fire them, they have to make the case. they have to bring it before a neutral arbitrator, they have to present evidence for why this teacher is bad at their job, and the teacher importantly has the right to representation in that hearing. >> the california teachers association announced it will appeal the decision. according to the "los angeles times" those appeals could go on for years. so could the repercussions of the ruling. according to the "new york times" lawyers in the case have said they may bring similar lawsuits in at least six other
states. joining me now is lead co-counsel in the case, marcellus mcrae, who joins us from los angeles, california. also with us in long island, new york is randy winegarden, president of the american federation for teachers. so nice to have you both here. >> thank you. good morning. >> let me begin with you. it's been reported there is likely to be a lengthy appeal process. is that also your understanding, and how do you see this case moving forward in that case? >> i think in the next couple weeks, what we're going to see is a finalization of the judge's decision and as far as the appeal process, that could obviously take anywhere from months to years, but obviously, we're going to do everything in our power in order to expedite that process. >> okay. let me suggest that as i read both the ruling of the judge as well as the initial lawsuit, it seems kind of clear, no one of good faith could argue that there isn't a problem of inequality in education and in educational outcomes and opportunities. i'm wondering, though, why this
case links that inequality to the issue of due process for teacher employment. >> well, i think that there's a couple things you have to consider. first of all, the statutes that were challenged here, the dismissal statutes, go far beyond due process. due process is a notice and an opportunity to be heard. we never challenged that teachers should have due process with respect to continued employment. in fact, we are hugely in favor of that. the problem with these statutes is that they were so expensive, so time-consuming, so burdensome, that as the court noted, it makes it ill uxusory t you can actually dismiss an ineffective teacher in california. there are 275,000 teachers on average in california per year. only 2.2, that's 2.2 out of 275,000, are dismissed for unsatisfactory performance every year. that's obviously not reflective of the number of grossly ineffective teachers. even if you can take the numbers
that were conceded by the experts on the other side in this case, the number of grossly ineffective teachers is about 1% to 3%. taking those numbers, that means you're having a devastating impact on huge numbers of children. what we saw from expert testimony in our case is that per every ineffective teacher, kids lose in a classroom about $50,000 per kid in lifetime earnings. if you have 25 kids in a class, and you do the math, you end up realizing you're talking about $11.6 billion in lost lifetime earnings per annum as a result of exposure to grossly ineffective teachers. as you pointed out, there's a disparate impact on black and brown kids and low income kids where these grossly ineffective teachers tend to be concentrated. we saw this as a pro teacher and pro kid case. >> hold for me just one second. don't go away. i want to turn now to randi. i think you have heard here the case and the fact is that part
of what is interesting about this story to me or about this issue to me is that it doesn't fall neatly along partisan lines, it doesn't fall neatly along an ideological spectrum. there's a really serious set of questions of people of good will on both sides who want good educational outcomes but when i listen to mr. mcrae, i have almost a visceral reaction to the repetition of the language of grossly ineffective teachers as the primary cause for the educational inequalities. again, i think everybody in this case recognizes it exists. so make the claim for me about why you think there's another set of causes. >> so first can i just say for all the fathers today, happy father's day. thank you for letting me do this from long island so i could be with my dad. >> certainly. >> so this is -- so look, no one wants somebody who can't teach in a classroom. that's something that we all share and in fact, in terms of
my union, and i don't feel like -- i feel like i have to say this, that since 2010, we have worked with a lot of states to change their tenure laws to make sure that it is not a job for life, it's not a shield of incompetence and it's not an excuse for managers not to manage. having said that, what we need to do is actually for kids in high need schools and for poor kids and minority kids, we have to make sure that we get them great teachers who stay, and that's the biggest problem. half the teachers in the united states of america leave within five years. there are fewer and fewer people who are actually going into teaching because it's a really hard job. so how do we actually create the conditions, the working conditions that work for teachers but more importantly, that work for kids. collaborative safe environments so that kids thrive and teachers will stay at those schools, and
that's one of the reasons why people have said that this case is actually going to take us back ten years, because what's happened is that the polarization and vitriol has been on overdrive because the decisions or at least the people who are promoting the decision seem to say that for kids to win, teachers have to lose and that's not the case. what we need -- i'm sorry. >> one of the things i want to just make clear here is when we are defining effectiveness or ineffectiveness, sort of what the measures are that are being used, because the language of grossly ineffective teacher makes us all think no one wants that in the classroom, but aren't we talking about test scores? >> are you asking -- are you addressing it to me? >> let me ask randi first, then i will let you respond, mr. mcrae. >> certainly. thank you. >> look, the case in california, it will be appealed, we will see what happens there. the issue i have is that every
principal i know who is a good principal, you know who is a grossly ineffective teacher. any teacher knows who's a grossly ineffective teacher. so the issue is if something is going on that people who can't teach shouldn't be there, then we have to change that. and some of that may be changing and reforming the tenure laws in california like we've done in new york, connecticut, maryland, illinois and other places, and some of it may be other things. but ultimately, we need to make sure that teachers can be treated fairly enough so that they can take risks in classrooms, so they don't feel retribution if they actually do something on behalf of students. that's what's going on here. >> i'm really appreciative of that argument of tenure. obviously as a tenured professor that's how we think about how tenure operates for us which is a different kind of tenure. we only have about 30 seconds. let me allow you to respond to
my testing question. >> i want to respond to that. basically, what we're talking about is it's not the case that all school districts know who the grossly ineffective teachers are, at least in california, because you only have 16 months under that statute to try to make a decision about whether or not somebody can achieve learning gains. that's highly problematic. as the court found, it basically results in a quality-blind determination that by default, has grossly ineffective teachers in classrooms and disparately in black and brown and low income communities. >> i'm just asking, i just really want to ask, is the empirical measure of effectiveness, i need you to clarify this for me, whether it happens at 16 or 18 months or four years or ten years, is the measure student test scores? >> the measure is a combination of factors and it's important that it be objective evidence of learning, which can include student surveys, obviously standardized test scores because they're required to be administered, and it's objective
data you can obviously use. but it's not the only factor. but it would be folly not to use that empirical data at your disposal. what you have is a synthesis of data. not relying solely on test scores. you need to be able to effect equal educational opportunity for all people and it needs to be based on objective evidence of learning. >> there is so much more. unfortunately, i do have to let you both go. or else this will be all that happens. >> right now, it's based upon test scores. that's what the california case was based on. >> yeah. i think we are going to have to revisit this. i do appreciate you both being here so much. i want to thank randi winegarden in long island, new york and marcellus mcrae in los angeles, california. up next, big news for little girls everywhere. hey. i'm ted and this is rudy. say "hi" rudy. [ barks ] [ chuckles ] i'd do anything to keep this guy happy and healthy. that's why i'm so excited about these new milk-bone brushing chews.
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and now we bring you some good news. a victory for the lady nerds of the galaxy. the battle began a long time ago. well, in may, really, when a british film executive and mother noticed that disney which is producing the next "star wars" trilogy has been selling action figures of hans solo and luke skywalter at its stores but there was no princess laia in sight, the butt-killing brilliant smack-talking princess not to mention style icon who we all love and on the disney store shelves, she was nowhere to be seen. the film executive natalie rayford whose daughter wanted the doll asked the disney store why there wasn't one and the response was this. currently there are no plans for laia products in disney stores. natalie, have a wonderful day. to paraphrase, i guess disney
doesn't know everything about women yet. the twitter outrage was swift and loud. the nerds cried out, why forsake your female fans. we can nerd out just as much as the boys. well, clearly, disney didn't want to look like some stuck-up half-witted scruffy looking nerd haters. the company has now announced that princess leia toys will, in the coming months, be available at the disney store. good work, lady nerds. you are, after all, our only hope.
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and that ship will be accompanied by the guided missile cruiser "uss philippine sea" and "the uss truckston." this move comes on the heels of this statement from president obama on friday. >> we will not be sending u.s. troops back into combat in iraq, but i have asked my national security team to prepare a range of other options that could help support iraq security forces. the united states is not simply going to involve itself in a military action in the absence of a political plan by the iraqis that gives us some assurance that they're prepared to work together. >> this morning, in iraq, chaos continues with reports of suicide bombing in baghdad that has killed at least nine people and wounded 20 more. it has not been linked to the group known as the islamic state in iraq and syria or isis. that group reportedly has been temporarily halted by the iraqi army and shiite militias 60 miles north of the capital city
of baghdad. a city that isis leader has claimed his forces would soon take over. this pause comes after the militant group spread across syria, overrunning and capturing mosul and on tuesday, parts of tikrit. president obama continues to weigh the options over whether to grant the request of the iraqi government and intervene with air strikes, it is clear that iraq is in a situation that threatens to spiral out of control. as government forces flee from the onslaught by isis and only one third of the iraqi parliament showed up to vote on a measure for emergency powers. there are signs that some americans in iraq are not waiting on the white house to act as u.s. citizens working for contractors like lockheed martin evacuate the country. though u.s. diplomatic officials remain in the country for the moment. the latest on how the white house is responding to this developing crisis, i want to bring in nbc news white house correspondent kristen welker who joins me from palm spring, where she is currently traveling with
the president. nice to see you this morning. >> reporter: good morning. nice to see you. sorry. go ahead. >> i was going to ask, what's the latest? >> reporter: well, president obama spoke with his national security advisor susan rice on friday and again yesterday as he and his national security team continue to weigh their options in iraq. among the options they are considering, air strikes which you mentioned but also targeted drone strikes. it appears as though right now, those targeted drone strikes are the more likely option, in part because the risk of collateral damage is much higher with the air strikes. one of the challenges for the obama administration right now is getting credible intelligence. as one senior administration official told me, the u.s. cannot simply rely on the intelligence of the iraqi government so right now, the u.s. is trying to gather its own intelligence, as president obama tries to make a determination about how to proceed. now, on friday, president obama had very strong words for prime
minister nuri al maliki, saying ultimately it is up to him to bring the situation under control and that he needs to create a more inclusive government. that's a message that secretary of state john kerry reiterated when he spoke with the iraqi foreign minister yesterday. so that is the message that the u.s. is sending to iraq. i can tell you, when president obama does make his announcement, he is going to talk about some short-term but also some long-term steps that the u.s. is going to take. back to you. >> thank you. kristen welker in palm springs, california. i want to bring in earl katagnas junior from valley forge military college and isabel coleman. we just talked about the issue of intelligence. senator manchin was just on "meet the press." listen to him talk about it. then i will get your response. >> i think our intelligence has
failed us miserably for not being aware of the threat that we faced and how this could unfold as quickly as it has. this has been planned for quite some time. my first thing to recommend to the president is get your intelligence group back on track, making sure that we have the intel we need for whatever options we have that are going to be accurate. >> last time you were here, you had a critique of this group of people. >> i think the senator is misinformed. this has been predicted since 2003 after the invasion, and this is a missed opportunity for the president to come out and really show a strong executive leader, where if he would have -- how is it that his national security team didn't have contingency plans already in place and he immediately enacts them tweaking them within the situation developing on the ground. it doesn't mean he has to immediately do air strikes or anything, but he immediately takes action and shows the strength of a leader which would also show strength and resolve in the region and maybe give more credibility back to him
after the syria red line debacle. but that's where his national security team is failing him. if it is true that they do not have any plans, then they need to be fired. if it isn't true, then why is the president not stepping up and saying this is what we're going to do, this is how we're going to do it and these are the plans we have in place. >> this has long been our set of plans. >> this is not something that came out of nowhere. this has been written about in journal after journal, even in newspapers since 2003. how he can say let's wait until the weekend. and there's two other points. i think isis, their success is their biggest downfall because nobody wants them to succeed in the region. there are many players in there that want to use them to destabilize certain enemies that they see as enemies, but because they are being so successful, i think this will lead to their ultimate demise. >> hold on for one second. i want to follow up on exactly that point.
isabel, one of the things i'm most surprised at in all of this back and forth has been the position of iran in this. an iran that was both very active in making sure we did not leave residual forces in iraq, that the u.s. did not leave residual forces in iraq, is now making a claim towards partnership with the united states in removing isis or combatting isis. how should we read iran's position here? >> i wouldn't go quite so far to say partnership. they certainly have aligned interests in that neither the united states nor iran wants to see isis succeed. but i wouldn't go quite so far as partnership. this has been pitched very much in sectarian terms. so you have isis which is a radical extremist sunni group which is threatsening using very sectarian language the demolition of the holy cities. it's really a call to sectarian war. of course, iran, a shiite country, is backing the maliki
government and has made it clear they will not allow that to happen. that is a red line for them. they have put, by many accounts, several battalions of revolutionary guards in iraq to bolster the iraqi army and security forces there, and you will see i think digging in on this and absolute both intelligence and boots on the ground and military assets deployed against isis. >> i know they're using sectarian language, but i have a little bit of a suspicion this is really about religion and not about something else. help me to think about that. you obviously fought in the region. is this fundamentally about religious identity? >> yes and no. right now, the way we view it as a sunni/shiite fight, there are tribal affiliations being played here. isis has now become the center for really the region and the
sunni pushback against baghdad. it was their only form or way to push back against maliki's government. at the same time, what you haven't heard in fallujah and ramadi, we made a big deal out of this, when they fell to the al qaeda type insurgents that tribal leaders are allowing this to happen because again, it's speaking about interests, certain interests are aligned. once those interests become out of alignment, you will see tribal leadership step up and iranian and iraqis are different ethnicities. one is persian, one is arab. that is stronger and mohammad himself had to deal with these tribal affiliations -- >> stick with us. so complicated and there is so much more. we are going to take a quick break. you will stay here with us. up next, one of the earliest opponents of the iraq war. barbara lee will join us live. ♪ ♪ yeah ♪ don't stop now, come on mony
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as iraq faces what looks like the brink of civil war, many wonder about the possibility of involving u.s. troops again. our last foray cost the lives of more than 4,000 americans and wounded an additional 32,000 plus military service members. though president obama tried to alleviate fears about the possibility of u.s. military intervention, one elected official seeks to ensure that will not happen by working next week as a u.s. house considers the defense bill to quote, repeal the 2002 iraqi war authorization as well as the 2001 aumf, which has led to perpetual state of endless war. this elected leader is the same person who is the only member of congress to vote against the aumf or authorization to use military force after 9/11 in afghanistan, was critical of the iraq war from the beginning, sponsored legislation in 2003 to repeal congressional authorization of the war and demanded last year that the administration seek authorization from congress
before taking any action against syria. i'm joined by the democratic leader, congresswoman barbara lee of california. so nice to have you here. >> my pleasure. good to be with you. >> so in your response to president obama this week, you urged him to lean on his own doctrine and to avoid further military entanglement. how confident are you that this administration is going to practice restraint in this case? >> i think the president has been very clear, first of all, that he does not intend to send our brave young men and women into combat operations. having said that, movement of our military assets into the region concerns me for many reasons. one is if, in fact, air strikes are conducted, we don't know what the unintended consequences could be. we saw back when president bush authorized -- well, when congress authorized and president bush engaged in "shock and awe" what happened.
as you said earlier, many of our brave young men and women died. many have come back now, we have to really address their health and mental health and job issues and security. so this is a very difficult decision but i think the president has been very careful. he is looking at the alternatives and i'm confident that he will do the right thing. this is an issue of sectarian warfare, as you said earlier. this has been going on for generations. there is no military solution and in fact, we need to encourage a political solution led by the iraqis and the united states should not get embroiled in this sectarian warfare. >> congresswoman, let me ask this. at the point at which you were initially in opposition to u.s. presence in iraq, i fundamentally understand. you and i have talked about, i have respected that position so much. we are now more than a decade past that and have had -- we are implicated in this because of our decade of engagement and of
course, because as we have just talked about, the sacrifices of our troops. does it put us now in a different position as we are making a decision about whether or not to be entangled in terms of boots on the ground, military forces as well as assets? in other words, does that ten years change how we ought to make this decision? >> we need to bring first of all our intelligence current which we are doing, but i think we need to go back to the drawing board and have a congressional debate. when we debated the resolution to use force in iraq, this was based upon weapons of mass destruction. we were told there were weapons of mass destruction and there were immediate threats. that resolution was passed by congress. i offered an alternative that said look, before we use force, let us just complete the inspections process, allow the united nations to make a determination as to whether or not there are weapons of mass destruction in iraq. there were none.
so i believe now we have to go back, we have to have another congressional debate and make some determinations. the american people deserve to have their members of congress put out all the options, debate this, and go back to the drawing board to determine our future actions. i tell you, i'm urging the public to work with us to raise their voices through stop endless war.com. we are urging members of the public to please let your members know that we need a debate on this, whatever the outcome, because there is no military solution. this is a very defining moment for us and we need to be very serious and very prudent in how we move forward. i think the president is doing that. we need the public to support a very cautious approach and support a political and diplomatic solution. >> representative barbara lee in san francisco, california, thank you for joining us. >> thank you. up next, the blame game is in full swing already.
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republicans are not wasting any time politicizing the developing crisis in iraq. two key gop leaders, the blame for what is going on right now, well, all of that belongs to president obama. >> the fact is, we had the conflict won and we had a stable government and a residual force such as we have left behind, we even have forces in bosnia, korea, germany, japan, where we could have, but the president wanted out and now we are paying a very heavy price, and i predicted it in 2011. you can go back and look at the quotes. >> it's not like we haven't seen this problem coming for over a year and it's not like we haven't seen over the last five or six months these terrorists moving in, taking control of western iraq. now they have taken control of mosul. they are 100 miles from baghdad. what's the president doing? taking a nap.
>> joining my panel now is michael eric dyson, msnbc political analyst and professor at georgetown university and dorian warren, associate professor of international affairs at columbia university. before i pull everybody in, i want to ask for a response, the same question i asked the congresswoman about our responsibilities to those of you who served as we are looking at the possibility of baghdad falling. >> well, one thing, when this all volunteer military, all of us joined to be patriots, or for most of us, especially the infantrymen who are doing the fighting. they volunteered twice, once to get into the army or marine corps and a second time to get into the infantry. they know what they're getting into, the fighting. so just that being said, the idea is that the interests of the united states have to be advanced for any military action or any action in general, and anything that is misaligned for
whatever reason outside of those interests, then that does not fulfill the mission to the all volunteer force or even a draftee force we had prior or during the '70s. so just because we fought there doesn't mean we continue to fight there. if the president comes out and articulates well the interests, i do think we have a national interest to maintain a stable government in iraq, but if he does come out and articulates that in a well thought-out plan which should have already been in place, then i think we should take whatever action he comes up with with his national security team. >> your basis is that there has to be an articulation of continuing interests rather than rhetoric of what we have done in the past. let me come to you on the politics here. the domestic politics here. because i hate the idea that things are unprecedented. i hear oh, never in history, but is it unprecedented to see the speed with which this became a partisan politicized issue even as we are still trying to protect interests in iraq? >> absolutely not. this is an example of the republican party on the one hand
trying to bury the legacy of the iraqi misadventure. on the other hand, finding anything they can to place all of the blame on president obama and away from president bush. so everything that is happening in terms of not just iraq but syria and iran is now laid at the foot of the president, as if his decision to campaign on withdrawing and then to actually withdraw and not go back, that is being pushed by the republican party and we have seen this pattern before, whether it's vietnam or other conflicts, of partisan conflict and trying to place the blame of a war on the mantle of one party. not taking any responsibility. >> if a volunteer army recognizes that it is going into war, then a president who volunteers and runs while we are at wartime is also in a certain way volunteering for -- once you sit at the big desk, it's your responsibility. >> well, obama has been
president now for years and he is commander in chief and in control of foreign policy. but i think to move beyond the blame game, the question is now what should we be doing. i don't think either side actually has a good answer to that. you're not seeing republicans calling for boots on the ground. you're not seeing -- even air strikes. what are we going to strike? this isn't a state with command and control structures that we can identify and say we are going to take that out. this is a loose group of several thousand fighters who are dispersed across the region and we don't really know what we should be even targeting. >> follow up on that a little bit. as i saw the president speak on friday about waiting until monday, my first thought was okay, i understand that strategy in the context of a nation state. i understand why you would say to a nation state hey, do you really want to mess with us, because we are still the united states of america, maybe you want to think about your role in the world, maybe you want to think about the protection of your people. i'm going to give you 48 hours. but what i couldn't figure out
is in the context of this kind of group, not a nation state, whether or not he was playing a game that wasn't true, whether he was -- like, do you have any insights into that moment? >> what we understand is that these isis fighters, as i said, there are probably several thousand of them, they have infiltrated into the community, they are imbedded with civilians. it's very unclear where we should be targeting and even if we should be targeting. the potential to do more harm than good right now is pretty great. what we do know is that they have stolen hundreds of millions of dollars from the banks and they have stolen a lot of american weaponry that had been with the iraqi troops. that drags us into it incidentally and also makes this group stronger than they were a few days ago. >> michael, as soon as we get back, i will get you in. i got three questions for you. i want to play a little sound for you and get your reaction as soon as we come back. we will stay on this issue. this is a fundamental issue. [ female announcer ] there's a gap out there.
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but what has happened in iraq and what we're seeing right now with isis is a good deal predictable by virtue of the president's failure to act appropriately and at the extraordinary time that was presented a couple years ago in syria, and also his failure to achieve a status of forces agreement so that we could have an ongoing presence in iraq. bad things happen as a result of inaction. >> that was former massachusetts governor mitt romney, who appeared earlier this morning on nbc's "meet the press." you have a response? >> yeah. it's interesting that the bush administration practices or practiced a doctrine of preemption but it seems when it comes to responsibility, it's ex post facto. after the fact we will reassign who was responsible and who wasn't. i worked in construction as a young man, and you could do stuff then that not until 20 years later would the asbestos exposure begin to reveal the
disease there. stuff that pre-existed the presidency has to be acknowledged, number one. number two, what he does in light of your conversation i think was instructive with congresswoman lee, the reality is we are in a different situation now ten years in than we were before. so he can't close his eyes and put his head in the sand like supposedly an ostrich does. he's got to reckon with those forces. two things, as you were saying earlier, why jump in when you don't know what the situation really is on the ground and number two, you are underestimating the force of the kurds, shiites and sunni's going at each other. oh, my god, islamic on islamic crime and hatred. but we can't determine what the ground forces will do. we can't even calculate collateral damage until we understand who's in control, who is going after what, and what the consequences will be of their decimating forces on each other. i think it's wise, that kind of restraint. >> i want you to come in on this, earl. this question of what we know, our intelligence on the ground, but also, what mr. romney suggested there was specifically
about status of forces agreement. >> right. as we discussed earlier during the break, that began under the bush administration and maliki would never ever sign off on the s.o.f.a. agreement. also, i do want to bring up this once again, bring back to the national security discussions about action and how it has to require a level of sophistication well above what we are talking about right here, it's constantly back to air strikes, what do we do militarily. we need to engage this holistically. possibility with air strikes but with air strikes, air support, you need individual special operators on the ground to control that air at the end. that's where it could be effective, whether or not they should do that is a whole different story. >> so would a s.o.f.a. agreement, had it come to some kind of agreement under president bush or if by some miracle it had happened under president obama even though you had said to me earlier that just never was going to happen given where it stood, but if we had residual forces there, would that have provided for the
intelligence gathering and the support for air strikes, if we had a s.o.f.a.? >> a s.o.f.a. would have allowed us to keep troops there and i think what you saw is not that isis was so strong. it's that the iraqi governing forces, the army, fell so quickly. these guys took off their uniforms, put down their weapons and left. >> weren't we meant to have trained them to not do that? >> we were. and we have also spent $15 billion doing that and supplying them with equipment. so i think it's not that we blocked the intel on this. we have known about isis for year. we lacked an understanding of how quickly those troops would fold. there is more going on here. a lot of them, it's not that they don't want to fight. it's that they don't like their own government and they are bargaining that in fact, they are better off with isis than they are with their sectarian government. >> one thing we have to understand is the troops that deserted were a lot of the
police battalions that were trained so they had a level of training less than the maneuver divisions that you see engaging right now. >> that's why we're having a stronger pushback now? >> you will see, this is traditionally been the problem with garrison troops anywhere, when you have people in static posts that don't have the support and there's the corruption that occurs at the lower level and they see their officers that care about themselves, where this is very different than maneuver divisions. this is where the american influence is rubber meets the road. but the problem is you have all of that equipment in the hands now of isis. >> every time you are here, i think the myself i need to sign up for your class. because there are these very clear ways you help me understand what is going on. thank you for being here. this will be a continuing story. dorian and michael are sticking around in part because up next, we will take a sharp turn. 20 years after o.j. simpson's
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tomorrow. tomorrow is full of promise. we can come back tomorrrow. and we promise to keep it that way. csx. how tomorrow moves. what a day. can't wait til tomorrow. all week long, old news has been new again as media outlets have covered the anniversary of the day 20 years ago this tuesday that this white ford bronco rolling along los angeles freeways at a leisurely 35 miles an hour kept americans riveted to their televisions for nearly an hour. but we pay attention to our diverse demographic here in nerdland and it occurred to us mostly by talking to our very young production assistants that what for some of us is the moment we will never forget, for some of our millenial viewers could be a moment they never remembered in the first place. here's how to tell which group you belong to. what's your earliest memory of
the name kardashian? if it has anything to do with the reality show star whose names all begin with k, please allow me to enlighten you. come back with me two decades. o.j. simpson at that time was arguably the most famous person to have accusations of murder play out entirely on television. we are talking about someone who was a heisman trophy winner and one of the most celebrated nfl rookies in history when he was selected by the buffalo bills in the 1969 draft. he went on to become a pro football hall of famer and one of the greatest running backs in football history, and parlayed his good looks and personality into a second career as an actor and pitchman. some of our more seasoned viewers may remember fondly o.j. running through the airports to the rental counter in the commercials from the '70s. o.j. simpson was the original american idol. so on june 17th, 1994, when news broke that simpson under a prearranged agreement, was supposed to have turned himself
over to los angeles police after being charged with a double murder, it was a big deal. simpson stood accused in the brutal stabbing death of his wife, 35-year-old nicole brown simpson and her friend, 25-year-old ron goldman. only instead of the expected shot of simpson perp walking himself into the police department, the video image from that day captivated not only the media but also the entire country and it was this. his white ford bronco driven by his friend al cowlings, o.j. hadn't shown nup in the police department but was in the back seat of the truck purportedly with a gun to his head, followed in a low speed chase by at least 20 squad cars along the freeways of los angeles. it was the opening scene of an extended drama that would reach its climax with a spectacular inescapable trial and evolve into a national obsession that captured the attention of the viewing public like no other criminal case ever had before this moment, that single shot of the white truck at the head of the police caravan kept a nation of more than 90 million viewers riveted to their televisions,
live television, not dvr, before o.j. finally surrendered. when the chase ended at his arrest in a home -- in his home in brentwood, los angeles. from that moment on, americans stayed thirsty for the juice, stayed glued to our televisions for the next 16 months, absorbing every lurid detail and assuring the ensuing trial all the way up the divisive verdict that drew in an estimated 150 million viewers. when judge lance ito made the decision to allow cameras in the courtroom, his reasoning as the "new york times" reported was rather than encourage irresponsible reporting, cameras could both check and correct it and that was crucial to public faith in courts and television was essential. as it turned out, the presence of cameras in the courtroom exposed the deep divide the american public's faith in the court and what's more, turned what was intended to be a lesson on the inner workings of the u.s. justice system into a spectacle that revealed as much
about the viewing audience as the trial participants. joining us, beth karas, michael eric dyson, professor of sociology at georgetown university. dino debia, former trial lawyer. you were there. >> well, i started at court tv, ten weeks after the bronco chase, on june 27th, having just left the d.a.'s office after eight years. i walked into a newsroom that was skeptical about his guilt and thought what's the big deal here? it seemed from what little we knew already that the evidence was overwhelming. so october 3rd, 1995, i was quite surprised with the acquittal. >> that moment of you walking in and saying we are skeptical and then this -- i really was trying to explain to millenials who work for us, you know, one of
our interns was like my mom was pregnant with me during the chase. i was like what? yeah, i know. it gives you a moment. but as we were trying to explain the enormity of this, how this captured the american imagination in that moment. >> you are absolutely right. it interrupted the finals, the nba finals. i was looking at houston, then i'm saying o.j., you're in the wrong sport. ralph ellison said you had slithering greats but you can't slide in here. it was before instagram. facebook, instant twitter, none of that. television was the great mediator. o.j. simpson had already made a spectacle on television and now was doing it again but he was doing it for a different purpose. i'll tell you what, that's the last time a guy of his race, we can talk about that later, got that slow ride down the freeway that didn't get either destroyed, killed or murdered. it was a seminal moment because
america had to come to grips with a guy they saw as a hero, beyond race, an american hero now falling so far, so fast from grace and the mountain of evidence that we thought was available wasn't yet going to be played out until the spectacle -- >> i love your point. this was a person on a pinnacle who falls. i'm wondering if that's exactly the thing we have generated an appetite for that puts us in a post-o.j. world. i want to listen for a second and have you respond. this is robert kardashian, my joke about the kardashians earlier, robert ckardashian reading a letter from o.j. simpson on the day of the bronco chase that sounds like a potential suicide note. let's listen. >> don't feel sorry for me. i have had a great life. great friends. please think of the real o.j. and not this lost person. thanks for making my life special. i hope i helped yours.
peace and love, o.j. >> that made us think we were watching a car where at the end of it, this person who might in fact take their own life. >> this moment was the beginning of reality tv before it was invented. >> a kardashian was there for it. >> and it was live. there was no editing after the fact. it was live. we did not know, the uncertainty was very high from everybody. we did not know how this was going to end. we were all so glued to the tv because we had never experienced anything like this before. >> i was obsessed. i'm going to tell you, i will confess on national tv, my wife and i went to the site, oh, yes. we wanted to see it. i drove and timed myself going from o.j.'s house to nicole's house. i got lost and it took me eight minutes. the scene itself was so narrow -- >> oh, michael eric dyson, you might want to hold that confession. >> it was.
it was the ultimate celebrity reality show, not the first one. nothing will ever come close to this. not lindsey lohan hearings, which people do watch that. this is before celebrity fit club or any of those -- we didn't see the world of celebrities except for what they wanted to show to us. this was a guy not only football star, a guy who was in "naked gun" movies being funny, who ran through airports. i dreamed one day to be able to run through airports. >> and rent a car. >> and rent a car. at the time, they talk about the ratings of the verdict. 91% of tvs at the time listened to judge ito's revealing a not guilty verdict. it brought us together. it was before msnbc, if you can imagine a world without msnbc. that unified us. it was a common experience and everyone had an opinion. >> this is so interesting, this notion that there was potentially more control in celebrity culture so part of what happens is as we are watching this fall from grace or from celebrity, we get to see his experience as a domestic
batterer, we get to see all kinds of things on the internal part of his life and i'm wondering if it actually generates a hunger then. because our world now is knowing all the dirt, knowing all of the everything of one another. do you think, clearly it follows the o.j. case but is it causal? >> maybe so. i continue to cover trials around the country for 19 years after that trial, and i did see changes in the courtroom. first of all, cameras didn't cause the spectacle. it was who o.j. was. we got a little bit jaded as americans, got a little more used to the justice system. while there was always an appetite to see a trial unfolding it was never the same. maybe when michael jackson was tried for child molestation there was a zoo outside the courtroom, tent city, but no cameras in the courtroom. so i did see more sophistication among viewers, cynicism also about the system, but cameras did not cause that. >> let me ask, because i like this idea.
i want to listen to mr. cochran and ask whether or not you think that is an argument being made to the jury or an argument being made to a broader audience. let's listen for a classic moment. >> i want you to remember these words. like the defining moment in this trial, the day mr. darden asked mr. simpson to try on those gloves and the gloves didn't fit, remember these words. if it doesn't fit, you must acquit. >> is that a jury argument or is that -- >> he has to be playing to the jury. even though we see it at home, his client's life and liberty is on the line, so that's who he's playing to. it just happens to work for us as well. sometimes you hear politicians say certain things, they are playing for the audience. when you are a trial lawyer, i tried a few cases, and not well, that's why i left doing it, everything, all you care about is doing well for your client. if their liberty is on the line, that's the most pressure you can
have. i agree with beth. i think cameras should be everywhere. i think the united states supreme court should allow cameras to see oral arguments. federal courts, they still don't allow it in federal trials. i don't think it's inherently prejudicial. it's transparency. >> it's both. i think he is exactly playing to the jury but he understood the jury was beyond those 12 men and women. he understood the nature of the case involved millions of people who felt that their lives were at stake as well. so he's playing directly to them but he understands he's got a mass cloud of witnesses out there who are hanging on his every word and johnny cochran was the supreme manipulator of american theater and a great rhetorician. you saw that brilliance coming through there. >> stick with us. as we talk about this question, the language you use, i don't think i have ever heard someone use it to talk about the o.j. simpson trial which is to say it unified us. it is true that it was this mass cultural experience but it was also one that deeply revealed our divisions. those are some of the divisions i want to talk about when we come back.
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we the jury in the above entitled action find the defendant orenthal james simpson not guilty of the crime of murder in violation of penal code section 187a, felony upon nicole brown simpson as charged in count one of the information. >> that moment, october 3rd, 1995, the day the verdict was delivered in the o.j. simpson murder trial. network and cable channels went wall-to-wall with coverage. according to nielsen numbers from that day, 91% of all home tvs were tuned in to the verdict. that's not including the uncounted numbers who watched the verdict on televisions in schools and offices and hotels and other public places, and yet, although it's clear we were all watching, it's also clear we were not all seeing the same thing. in the days following the not guilty verdict, gallup asked americans whether they believed the jury reached the right
decision. 78% of black people polled agreed with the jury's decision while only 42% of white respondents were in agreement. race became the story of this trial. in the break, you said to me that mr. simpson's current incarceration you think is still connected to a set of beliefs about his guilt. >> no question about it. i covered his road rage trial in the fall of 2001. nobody was there. it was right after 9/11. but he took the stand and i got to know o.j. then. i covered his las vegas robbery kidnapping case in 2008, also got to know him a little bit just talking to him in the halls there. kind of a broken man by then. there is no question that he is being punished now for getting away with murder before, to me. the cops were caught saying when they were searching the hotel room where the memoribilia was, where the robbery kidnapping happened, california couldn't get him but we will. >> yeah. >> the fact you say that, that there's this language about what
the police officers use, is michael, where i want to come to you. that statistic about the number of african-americans, percentage of african-americans who believed the jury reached the right verdict has often been misconstrued that a number of african-americans believe he was not guilty of the crime. they are quite different things to say i think he should have gotten off versus i think he was not guilty. >> most people didn't think he was innocent, they just didn't believe he was guilty by legal standards. like it ain't the moral truth, it's the legal truth. what can be proved in a court of law. don't get mad at johnny cochran because he out-lawyered you or he was smoother and more seductive and had rhymes before busta rhymes and could tell the truth if the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit. johnny cochran epitomized for black america what it means to have your back against the wall and no matter how famous you are, remember "time" magazine darkened o.j.'s face.
>> the "time" versus "newsweek" covers, mr. fuhrman and the use of the n word and not being honest about it, those two things set a racial tone for this trial. >> absolutely. racial truth is simultaneous. things can be true at the same time. you can be a man guilty of murder and a police cop who is bad can try to frame a guilty man. >> certainly. >> one more piece of context especially for millenials to understand. just a couple years before -- >> gather round, children. >> in l.a. a couple years before was the rodney king beating. and the riots in l.a. >> the uprising. >> thank you, the uprising. so that's an important piece of context that shaped especially black americans' views of this trial, just a couple years later. >> great point. >> actually, so let's think about that for a second. if you have the filmed spectacle of the beating of rodney king, then you have the uprisings and
the result of that trial, then you have the election of bill clinton who is talked about as the first black president, then o.j. simpson is acquitted, does it feel in '95 like we are entering this post-racial -- seriously, part of the reason i ask this is because this way in which these moments end up standing in for much bigger things than what they are actually about. >> oddly for me, when the o.j. simpson verdict happened, i was a white guy. >> because 9/11 happened, so you were still white. right. >> i watched the o.j. verdict as a white lawyer and tried to be objective and when the verdict came out, i said -- i didn't watch every piece of evidence that went in, this jury said he's not guilty, that's fine. flash forward to trayvon martin, i'm a minority after 9/11. i had a vested interest. when that verdict came out i was organically angry at the verdict because things had changed for me. there was -- >> i don't want to leave this for a second. we talk about the social
construction of race all the time, but you being able to put it in that language that before 9/11, your identity is socially constructed as white lawyer watching this, and so you have one set of understandings about where you fit but in a post-9/11 world, watching the zimmerman verdict, you watch as someone who could potentially be profiled which is part of the understanding -- >> we were. muslim american communities being profiled, was being profiled at that time in new york. i had anger, not anger anger towards the police, i didn't view them as the enemy but i had questions viewing them as friends. my perspective had changed. i could understand now looking back at o.j., why people in the african-american community would have questions about the police. and mark fuhrman, and did he frame it and being reasonable doubt going i think this guy's a racist. that could have happened. >> despite evidence, right? because the thing about the rodney king trial is this. finally we got it on tape. you can't even deny that. black people go oh, even the evidence is not sufficient so when it comes to o.j., all of your evidence, your mountain of
evidence doesn't mean a hill of beans because you have manipulated so much so that the visual images that really can ascribe guilt to one particular person have been erased, all bets are off. >> let me come into the sexual identity question. simultaneously, this whole thing about race, this also seemed to be a case about someone who had domestically -- let me take out the domestic. that's not really relevant. who had abused his wife, that 911 call, the fear, the sound in her voice, there was this kind of astonishing aspect to which women of color, particularly black women, became part of the o.j. simpson team and not the nicole brown -- in fact, her suffering, her death became almost a sideline to the spectacle of race that was emerging. that feels like we haven't moved on much from. >> i don't think we have actually interrogated that in terms of how white women felt about nicole being married to a
prominent black man or black women and women of color feeling -- i feel o.j. had become white and then became black again in some ways. i remember my mother and all the anger of the black women around me towards o.j. for so many years until that trial, where he became black again and needed protection again, and any of nicole's pain and identity was totally ignored in that moment. >> he reclaimed his blackness, black against the wall, back against the wall. that's the truly. >> stick with me. i want to talk more about that. we will continue our discussion on the o.j. simpson case. i can't believe i just said those words. this is weird. but first, we want to take note of the passing of a major figure in american pop culture. nbc news has confirmed that radio legend casey kasem passed away this morning. he was the voice of american top 40 where he counted down the most popular songs in the country. the show was a smash hit and at
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here! see for yourself. (harp music) behold! i love being outdoors. i love bark. shake the outdoors, indoors. with new bounce bursts. the letters o.j. aren't the only ones that earned recognition during the o.j. simpson trial. so the d-n-a. that evidence was introduced that made it possible for some of the blood near the bodies to be anyone but simpson's. but police mishandling of the evidence and the prosecution's failure to explain the forensic science of dna in language jurors could understand made the evidence all but useless to help their case. there was, however, one group of people following the trial who understood one thing for certain about dna.
if you were wrongly accused, you could imagine dna as being the key to your freedom and in fact, dna has been the basis of exoneration in 316 convictions through the innocence project, a nonprofit founded by barry scheck, a member of o.j. simpson's defense team. i wanted to talk about dna in the context of race, because as we were just talking about, race is a social construct. it is not biological. yet in this case, that issue of dna and like the production of bodily matter became central to a race story in such a way that it ends up actually providing justice for hundreds of people of color through the innocence project. like biology that had always been bad for black folks ended up being good. >> exactly right. even if you believe o.j. was guilty, he was a sacrificial lamb. thousands of others benefited from the mistake made in his case but because dna stood for
denying negroes anything before o.j. when dna comes along, there's a critical mass of science and its understanding of its use, people were much more careful about it. you would think the mountain of evidence being used against o.j. proved again, something you said that's very important, black people's skepticism about technology, it wasn't about technology itself, it's about technicians. it's not about science, it's about scientists. it's the use of it. so when we discovered that oh, yeah, some of that dna, we kept it out, didn't put it in, when questions began to be raised, it showed them that even science can't testify on its own. it's got to always be put into a larger context and in that context, race makes a huge difference in terms of the interpretation of the data. i think o.j. showed all of that but he did become a critical figure in releasing a lot of men who were innocent. >> i want to -- one other kind of evidence, not dna evidence. witnesses and to the extent to which witnesses make a difference in a trial. there were two moments, you brought up the zimmerman trial. i want to make a comparison because zimmerman also became a
very racially angst-filled trial. in the zimmerman trial, the testimony of the young woman who just graduated from high school, but who was the last person to speak with trayvon martin, she was meant to provide humanization of trayvon martin, to make us think of him as a young boy on the phone with his friend but in part because of how she presented racially, in many ways, it had the opposite effect. folks had such negative feelings about her. i was comparing that to o.j. simpson's daughter, arnelle, the older daughter, who when she testified, this beautiful young woman who was so lovely and articulate and had all these nice things to say about her father and how her character witness played very different racially. i just thought this is exactly how that race and witnessing makes for different kind of evidence. >> jurors are human beings. they connect with certain people in different ways. i felt bad for the young lady because the struggles of being
in the zimmerman trial. we talk about cameras in the courtroom. i'm all for it. but sometimes people might say i don't want to testify if it's going to be on tv because i might have to go through that same thing. that's the only concern i have in the back of my mind with cameras in the courtroom. when you get to race, the one thing i want to say, i don't want to take it off-topic, the one thing true for o.j. simpson and trayvon now, white americans didn't want to talk about race then. after trayvon, there was a poll. 80% of african-americans said it's a good time to talk about race. only 25% of white america wanted to talk about race. while things have changed in this country, still, there's a hesitance in the white community because they view it as an accusation. even with dna, over 300 people exonerated, of those, almost 2 willed are actually african-american, they go that's just happenstance. it's not. there's a bigger issue involved. >> the way you talk about -- >> arnelle simpson is the daughter of the sports icon. she was articulate, more educated.
you're talking about the witness in trayvon martin who, not her fault, she just couldn't articulate herself. she couldn't express herself as well. people didn't -- people thought she was probably not being totally truthful. she had an attitude on the stand. >> i guess what i'm asking, if that reading of her as less articulate or having an attitude was also racialized in that sense. in other words, she is very discernible to me. i know, like when i say i know her, i don't mean i know her personally but i know young women like that. i didn't read her as defensive. i read her as familiar. for many folks, she was not familiar. >> i blame the prosecution for not preparing her better. they didn't prepare her well enough. maybe they did as much as they could with her but i doubt it. >> i think the point melissa is making is brilliant because the preparation is not just for the prosecution, but the country for a woman like that. when you say familiar, that's how people get jobs. you look familiar to me. a new study from a woman at rutgers says it's not the stuff that white people do against black people or other minorities
that's the problem, it's the hookups they give to each other that constitutes an advantage. when we talk about rachel, she looks dishonest. this woman speaks three languages so she's technically much more superior to o.j.'s daughter. she is capable of switching in between idioms and also is darker and not lighter, heavier and not lighter, so all of that plays into our constitution of what's intelligent, what's acceptable, what's beautiful and what's desirable and therefore who is telling the truth. i think in that sense you are absolutely right. rachel jeantel signified for every black woman who was thought insolent or incapable of being nice and what she was doing was being protective because she knew she was already being judged. the reason she didn't want to get on that stand because they are going to treat me the very way i knew she would be treated. >> and was treated that way. i remember quite well the extent to which arnelle simpson -- we didn't have memes then. had we had memes, she was a little bit of like oh, my god, look at this beautiful young
woman and i get what you're saying about sort of her capacity for discourse but i also think it's the code switching. it's a particular kind of discourse she was good at. >> this gets at your broader point about intersectionality because this is also about class in addition to race and gender and how we view class and o.j.'s daughter obviously is of a very different class than rachel. that shades people's perceptions of trustworthness, of honesty. it's also skin color, she was a beauty. >> all of it together. >> all of it together. >> maybe we did learn something about ourselves. i really appreciate it. 20 years ago, i never thought i would be on tv talking about it. you did, because you were on tv talking about it 20 years ago. trust me, we are all old compared to my interns. i want to thank my guests. up next, freedom summer turns 50.
>> the need for the volunteers and presence of the volunteers represented our inability after three years. to make significant inroads into changing mississippi. so we had to reach out to this larger group which was predominantly white. many of us were still not entirely comfortable with it. keeping a billion customers a year flying, means keeping seven billion transactions flowing. and when weather hits, it's data mayhem. but airlines running hp end-to-end solutions are always calm during a storm. so if your business deals with the unexpected, hp big data and cloud solutions make sure you always know what's coming - and are ready for it. make it matter.
51 years ago this past thursday, june 12th, 1963, civil rights leader medgar evers was murdered in his driveway in jackson, mississippi. he was the naacp's first field secretary in mississippi and organized its voting registration efforts. the next summer, 1,000 volunteers, black and white, organized by the student nonviolent communicating committee, fanned out across the state in the effort to register black citizens who had been disenfranchised for nearly a
century. their efforts are known as freedom summer. on the 50th anniversary of that bold and dangerous summer, a new documentary by stanley nelson will premiere on pbs june 24th. here's a look at how the film begins. >> spending a summer in mississippi taught me a lot about this country. my high school social studies teacher taught me that we all have rights. mississippi summer taught me that we didn't all have rights. >> when we began to go to mississippi, the black people we met there were not interested in lunch counters. they weren't interested in sitting in the front of the bus. there were no lunch counters, there were no buses. they wanted to vote.
♪ it will be carrying registered voters it will be carrying registered voters ♪ >> i just made up my mind that i was going to be a registered voter. i never wanted to be a politician. i just wanted the right to vote. >> i didn't want the negro to control the government under which i live. >> i don't think people understand how violent mississippi was. terrorism led black people to the obvious conclusion. if they try and vote, they're messing with white folks' business and they can get hurt or killed.
>> we hope to send into mississippi this summer upwards of 1,000 students from all around the country who will engage in what we are calling freedom schools, community center programs, voter registration activity and in general, a program designed to open up mississippi to the country. >> the burned-out station wagon in which the three civil rights workers were last seen has been processed by fbi laboratory investigators. >> i knew it was going to be bad. i didn't dream for a minute that people would be killed. but it was always in the back of everybody's mind that something, that bad things were going to happen. so it was terrifying.
but if you cared about this country and you cared about democracy, then you had to go down. >> the director of "freedom summer" stanley nelson joins me next. ♪ ♪ [ girl ] my dad, he makes underwater fans that are powered by the moon. ♪ [ birds squawking ] my dad makes airplane engines that can talk. [ birds squawking ] ♪ my dad makes hospitals you can hold in your hand. ♪ my dad can print amazing things right from his computer.
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the things that was done at the orientation was to instruct the white students, particularly, that you're going into a situation where you will have to follow the directions of black people. you will be living in black homes. you will have to live according to the way they live. your life will depend upon you following directions. and of course, these white students had never been in a situation like this. >> that was a scene from the new pbs documentary "freedom summer" airing on june 24th to mark the 50th anniversary of the volunteer effort to register black voters in jim crow mississippi. the film's director, stanley
nelson, joins me now. so nice to have you. >> great to be here. >> talk to me first about you have been working for a long time to tell our histories. what is it about this history in particular, the freedom summer story, that we don't know or that has been lost? >> i think there's so much we don't know. what we know about the story these days are the three civil rights workers who were murdered that summer. but i think we don't know how freedom summer came about. we don't know about the courageous history of resistance by the people of mississippi and the last third or so of the film tells the story of the mississippi freedom democratic party and their challenge at the democratic convention. i think that's a story that's really been lost for most people. >> that of course is in part the story of fannie lou hammer. this is from earlier in the film but let's introduce ourselves to her. >> one of the important things about recruiting fannie was her
ability to move people. fannie lou haimer brought a new kind of spirit into the movement and she -- i think it kind of rejuvenated all of us. >> what was that new spirit she brought into the movement? >> well, she was a little bit different from the people who had been working in the civil rights movement in mississippi. a lot of them were young and they were students, some of them like bob moses was actually from the north. but fannie was a sharecropper and she had tried to register to vote and when she tried to register to vote, she went back to her house and was immediately kicked off the property and lost her home and her job, and she became then part of the movement. and she, like bob moses says in the film, she had mississippi in her blood. other people could talk about what it meant to be a mississippian, what it meant to be a sharecropper, what it meant to be denied the right to vote but she had experienced it and
could talk about it eloquently. >> and the violence. she had been kicked off her land and also subjected to violence. when she does go with the mississippi freedom democratic party, she actually testifies before the dnc credentials committee about that violence. >> yeah. one of the most amazing scenes in the film is fannie lou haimer's testimony, because fannie lou haimer was kind of the cleanup hitter. they had martin luther king, they had rita schwerner, whose husband has been murdered but fannie was one of the last ones up to talk about what was happening in mississippi and she does it beautifully. of course, it's all recorded so it's in the film. >> on that issue of recording, i want to watch another clip for a moment and talk about what struck me here and ask you a little bit about this as a film maker. this is really about that violence and specifically about the rise of the klan in response to the mississippi movement of freedom summer. >> the citizens council had convinced people that the klan
wasn't necessary, it was bad publicity, and they could keep schools from being desegregated, they could keep lunch counters from being integrated but in 1964 when they see the volunteers for freedom summer, it was clear they couldn't. that's when the klan starts to ride. >> as i'm watching this film, the moment i was most struck by in this clip is the child, who is probably under 5 years old. so we're at the 50th anniversary. that means that that child, let's just say, is a 55-year-old person. the images being black and white, which is what they are in, makes you feel that happened a long time ago, oh, that's way back. that child is ceo age. that child is 55. how do we keep that sense of urgency and documenting it as a moment in history? >> i think one of the things you see in the film, you see so many people who were there.
they are still alive and still talking about it. they were there. i think that's one of the things that's really important. one of the early decisions we made in making this film was to make it without narration because we thought that there were enough people who were still around who had experienced this, that they could tell the story, and there are. when you see it, you start to think well, wait a minute, this wasn't so long ago if these people are talking about it and can remember it. >> yeah. and with full faculties and i am just so appreciative of this film and of your other work. i know you said that "freedom riders" will be replayed on pbs on just the week before this, and thank you for your work. >> thank you so much. the documentary, "freedom summer" debuts on pbs tuesday, june 24th. also, for folks looking to learn more about the events happening surrounding the 50th anniversary commemoration of freedom summer, you might want to check out the website, freedom 50.org.
up next, i've got something to say to a man, the man who chaperoned a birthday party for a dozen tween girls because my flight was delayed by weather. party for tween girls because my flight was delayed by weather. a father's day message for my husband is next. seeing the worl, seeing the worl, and i loved every minute of it. but then you grow up and there's no going back. but it's okay, it's just a new kind of adventure. and really, who wants to look backwards when you can look forward?
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this week i have one more letter for my husband, james. happy father's day. it goes without saying that i was joyous on our wedding day. and it waste until later that i realized someone else, parker, there she is, 8 years old, so overwhelmed with enthusiasm about our union that she spontaneously took flight. she was thrilled because our marriage meant that you were officially a dad to her. you, who took her to father/daughter dances. you, who walked and talked and traveled with her, who never tried to crush her silliness but
nurtured it instead. on that day, you and she and me became a family. and in one fell swoop you embraced the roles of husband and father with compassion and humor and unending patience. four months ago we became parents again expanding our family and welcoming our miraculous baby girl a.j. whatever i believed about your staggering capacity for love, has been expanded beyond anything i dared imagine. as you have thrown both arms around the awesome task of parenting a newborn. there are the morning snuggles with a.j. as you read her story. there are the hours you live perfectly still so she can sleep on your chest. there's a way that you tolerate -- no, actually i think you encourage her to put her feet in your mouth i. and there are the epic daddy/daughter selfies that you have perfected. there's a simple fact that both of our girls are yours, that you
never make the distinction in your compassion and attentiveness from the girl you met at 7 and the one you've held at birth. you still have the same fun and love as a dad as an uncle for my nieces and nephew. james, you are the light of our days and our guardian of our nights. though i have loved you from the first, watching your extraordinary parenting and commitment to our family simply takes my breath away and deepens my love every day. and on this father's day, i hope the girls are giving you a chance to catch a little nap, because you certainly have earned it. happy father's day, sincerely, melissa. and that's our show for today. i also want to say, happy father's day to our executive producer, eric salzman, and his lovely daughter, lucy. thanks to all of you at home for watching. see you next saturday at 10:00 a.m. eastern. happy father's day to you, t.j. >> melissa, thank you.
after that, i'm not in the mood to do the tease. no, no, i'm serious. it's father's day. we look at the news all day long. there's always a lot of negative. and we have to cover the bad stuff. but that was such a touching and great moment to end on, that i actually don't want to leave that moment. >> well, thank you. i'll tell you, however good it was, it still doesn't reflect of all who james is. he's a pretty extraordinary human. >> that was so sweet. it was special. i'm not going to tear up here, because that's just not what i do. but i want folks to know, i loved it. i'm going to be back after the break. we're going to bring you all the news that you need. but we'll take that moment in, and say happy father's day to your family and you enjoy it. >> happy father's day, t.j. >> back after the break, folks. the fact is, it comes standard with an engine that's been called the benchmark of its class. really, guys, i thought... it also has more rear legroom than other midsize sedans.
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those details for you next. >> you said this is the greatest threat, national security threat since 9/11. >> i guarantee you, this is a problem that we will have to face. we're either going to face it in new york city or we're going to face it here. >> new alarm, warnings from capitol hill on the danger posed by some of the fighters in iraq. what some experts say they could strike the u.s. homeland. >> i'm not sure anybody saying the moon wasn't there or it was made of cheese. >> the president talking about the moon being made of cheese. but he's really trying to deliver another critical message to new graduates. also, it happened 50 years ago this weekend, and it remained largely an untold story until now. it involved martin luther king jr. and a commencement speech he was set to deliver. hey